A NSW Government website

How and when to use SafeScript NSW

SafeScript NSW now available to prescribers and pharmacists in all NSW areas

SafeScript NSW was made available to prescribers and pharmacists in all NSW areas in late May 2022. It has been rolled out in a phased approach starting in Hunter New England and Central Coast in November 2021, followed by Nepean Blue Mountains and Northern Sydney areas in March 2022.

Who has access to SafeScript NSW

Prescribers (medical practitioners and nurse practitioners) and pharmacists registered with Ahpra will be eligible to access SafeScript NSW, after they have registered for the system.

When to use SafeScript NSW

SafeScript NSW is a clinical tool that provides prescribers and pharmacists with real time information about their patient’s prescribing and dispensing history for monitored medicines. This information will support them to make safer clinical decisions and help health practitioners to work with their patients to ensure appropriate use of monitored medicines. SafeScript NSW has the potential to help save lives and reduce harm in the community and therefore all prescribers and pharmacists in NSW are encouraged to use the system once it’s available.

How to use SafeScript NSW

Using SafeScript NSW with integrated software

SafeScript NSW is designed to be integrated into clinical workflow. This enables prescribers or pharmacists who have registered for SafeScript NSW, and using integrated clinical software, to receive a pop-up notification on their desktop prescribing or dispensing system warning them when a high-risk scenario is detected within the database. These scenarios include:

  • multiple prescribers involved - where a patient has received prescriptions for monitored medicines from four or more prescribers within the last 90 days
  • use of high doses of opioids - where the average daily dose exceeds 100mg oral morphine equivalent over a 90 day period, excluding medicines used for opioid replacement therapy
  • concurrent prescribing of potentially harmful substances - for example certain long acting opioids (fentanyl and methadone) and benzodiazepines.

Prescribers and pharmacists can click on the notification to access the SafeScript NSW portal to view the patient’s full monitored medicine history.

Using SafeScript NSW without integrated software

Prescribers and pharmacists who are not using integrated software are still able to access SafeScript NSW to view their patient’s monitored medicine history by logging into the SafeScript NSW portal directly.

Pop-up notifications and alerts

Pop-up notifications

Where a prescriber or pharmacist is using integrated clinical software, a pop-up notification will be displayed on their desktop. The prescriber or pharmacist can click on the pop-up notification and be taken directly to the patient record in the SafeScript NSW system.

Green pop-up notifications don’t require any action and will fade away after a few seconds. Amber and red pop-up notifications will be displayed until the prescriber or pharmacist clicks on the notification.

Pop-up notification colour

There are no prescribing/dispensing records in SafeScript NSW for ‘Patient Name’ within the last 90 days.

Pop-up notification colour

Medicines prescribed to ‘Patient Name’ within the last 90 days are from the same prescriber or the same medical practice.

Pop-up notification colour

Medicines prescribed to ‘Patient Name’ within the last 90 days involve more than 1 prescriber at different medical practices. Check SafeScript NSW for more information.^

^In some instances, SafeScript NSW is not able to recognise when prescribers are from the same medical practice. This may result in unexpected multiple provider episode alerts and pop-up notifications. SafeScript NSW is working towards a solution.

Alerts about high risk clinical situations

Alerts in SafeScript NSW will be displayed where a high-risk situation has been detected in an individual’s record.  Alerts will be red or amber, depending on the severity of the risk. Red alerts will trigger a red pop-up notification to be sent to prescribers or pharmacists using integrated clinical software.

Alert Colour

Alert Rules

Multiple Pharmacist Episode – where an individual has had any monitored medicine dispensed in 4 or more pharmacies within a 90-day period.^

Does the alert trigger a pop-up notification?

No, a pop-up notification will not be sent about this alert. Information about the alert will be available in SafeScript NSW.

*Excluding medicines on the opioid treatment program.

^In some instances, SafeScript NSW is not able to recognise when prescribers are from the same medical practice. This may result in unexpected multiple provider episode alerts and pop-up notifications. SafeScript NSW is working towards a solution.

Clinical decision making remains with the health practitioner

A notification or alert does not mean prescribers and pharmacists are not allowed to prescribe or dispense a medicine, but it indicates that some clinical risk with the use of monitored medicines has been identified. Steps should be taken to review and manage appropriately. Ultimately, the clinical decision remains with the prescriber or pharmacist to determine whether the medicines prescribed continue to be the safest and best option for the patient’s individual needs.

Prescribing or dispensing monitored medicines if a warning is received in the system

Prescribers and pharmacists may still prescribe and dispense monitored medicines even if there is a notification or alert if they believe it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so. The SafeScript NSW system provides health practitioners with improved quality of information at the point of care that is intended to aid clinical decision making and ensure appropriate use of monitored medicines.

If deciding that a medicine is no longer the safest treatment, it’s important to remember good clinical practice involves ensuring that appropriate continuity of care is provided for the patient.  Abruptly discharging the patient or suddenly stopping treatment of patients who have been taking high-risk medicines over a long period of time is contrary to patient safety.